My goal of viewing all the bridges in Chester County is (almost) complete. I was unable to view the the Hayes Clark and Speakman II (Mary Ann Pyle) covered bridges because they sit inside the Laurel Preserve, which is owned by the Brandywine Conservancy. You must be a conservancy member to access the property. As you will see below, it was also a rainy day when I went out to see the remaining bridges, and I was on a tight schedule. I will have to come back to see these at some later date.
The first bridge of the day was the Speakman I bridge south of Coatesville. If you are interested in learning more about these bridges, or would like to find your own local covered bridges, I suggest this site.
The next stop (after the aborted Laurel Preserve visit) was a cluster of bridges near the Maryland border. I often find that covered bridges come in clusters, which is very convenient when trying to visit them. These three all sit across Elk Creek.
The next bridge is the impressive Pine Grove Covered Bridge over Octoraro Creek. It is 198 feet long and the longest covered bridge in Chester or Lancaster counties.
I had to sneak in this shot in Oxford:
The final stop was in Lancaster County, because, well, it was nearby and ticks off another bridge.
Chester County still has a fair number of covered bridges, with 15 still in existence. Many of them are open to traffic. It also continues to share some bridges with surrounding counties (Bartram, Pine Grove, and Mercers Mill, for example). A cluster of bridges span French Creek in the northeastern section of the county, west of Phoenixville.
Heading east, we encounter the bridges, beginning with Rapps Dam Covered Bridge.
i spent this past Labor Day at Ricketts Glen State Park. I avoided the crowds on the Falls Trail and spent the days photographing covered bridges and other nearby areas. The cottages on Lake Jean are some of my favorites in the state park system.
The park was open, with some restrictions on check in times and requirements for mask usage in bath houses and park office buildings. Some facilities, such as the boat rental, were closed. Most things seemed to be operating normally.
I did see some interesting birds just sitting outside the cottage. A bald eagle, Canada warbler, a possible vireo, great blue heron, as well as a number of more common species such as chickadee, white breasted nuthatch, robin, chipping sparrow, catbird, and mallard.
As an added bonus, below are a few shots of holiday activity at Frances Slocum State Park in Luzerne County.
This post is just the beginning of the promised photos of covered bridges. I set out on a mission to view and, in most cases, photograph my local covered bridges. For those of you interested in finding these bridges for yourself, I recommend this site. A view of the Knox (Valley Forge) covered bridge can be found in my earlier post.
Covered bridges were sometimes called “kissing bridges” because they provided some privacy for travellers to sneak a kiss. While at the Mercer’s Mill Covered Bridge, I met a guy who used to bring his girlfriend there from Delaware in the 1980s. So it seems the tradition of young lovers being drawn to covered bridges extended well into the twentieth century.
The Bartram covered bridge straddles the border with Delaware County on Crum Creek. It would make one end, at least, Delaware County’s only covered bridge.
The Gibson covered bridge sits along side a busy road. Traffic through the bridge is only one way. The eastern side has a parking area for access to local hiking in the Brandywine Meadows Preserve.
Driving around locally usually produces more images of farms, even if I am mainly looking for covered bridges. The farms in Chester and Lancaster County are really visually interesting and varied, so I can’t help myself.
Plenty more covered bridge photos are upcoming, too.
This past May I took a trip to one of my favorite bird watching spots at Bombay Hook NWR near Smyrna, Delaware. It had been while since I was last there, but it is well worth the trip. Just look out for the insects in late Spring and early Summer. The refuge has a great auto tour route which is a nice feature for the disabled (or the just plain lazy). There are also plenty of opportunities to take short walks to see the varied habitats here.
I was excited as I approached this bird. It looked pink from a distance. Turns out it was just a snow goose stained reddish brown from iron compounds in the soil.
Nestled between the mountain ridges in Perry County is Sherman’s Valley. The valley is traversed by Route 274, with its heart in Blain, PA. I came here in search of a couple of covered bridges on Sherman Creek. The narrow valley feels remote due to its situation between two ridge lines. However, it is not to far from Carlisle and Harrisburg.
It was, unfortunately, quite a gloomy morning when I was there. Here is a sampling of what I saw (and, or course, those covered bridges):